Udora Orizu in Abuja
A United States-based Nigerian Professor of Microbiology and Biotechnology, Prof. Diuto Esiobu, has urged Nigerians to embrace biotechnology certification, saying it will boost the economy and generate at least $1bn in the near future.
Esiobu, who is also the founder and president of Applied Biotech USA/Nigeria, stated this in Abuja, at the stakeholders meeting on the proposed International Biotechnology Certification Examination (IBCE) for entry level workforce by biotility, University of Florida, USA and deliberations on courses offered by applied biotech institute for IBCE.
According to her, The ABINL and Biotility USA will present plans to enhance the intellectual rigour and vigour of the entry workforce in biotechnology through this international credentialing exam which will help define the workforce training and needs that will make Nigerians become creative and innovative problem solvers.
“For this international biotechnology certification exam, we are targeting young Nigerian graduates who have a degree in biotechnology even people who are established researchers in other areas who want to change. People who use to be historians can take the six level courses that we have developed and then take the theory and practical exams and be certified. So anyone who is interested in participating in bio-economy, in production of things like enzymes or people who want to look for drug discovery can take part,” Esiobu said.
Esiobu added that the partnership with the government was useful but more importantly the content of the certificate is what will serve the certificate itself.
â€œSo Nigerians who become certified by this international biotech certification in process will be known worldwide, they will have a global access to employment in biotech sectors. They can go to South Africa, Egypt, USA with this certification, it’s an entry level workforce certification exam for the Nigerian population.
â€œThe harvest is dependent on sowing, one state in the USA makes 20 billion dollars using one bacteria annually via biotechnology. Nigeria can make a minimum of $1 billion in the near term and over $10 billion in the mid-term if appropriate investment is made into actual skill development. The certification training can also help boost our economy by providing numerous jobs, create novel products and transform economy with new revenue sources. Whatever we try to do lies on the shoulders of a well trained workforce.â€ Esiobu said
She further said that China makes $2 billion just by sending out herbs and Nigeria has quite a few of those herbs.
â€œSo we can use biotechnology to micro propagate those in a sustainable way because that has been the problem in Nigeria; things come up everyone jumps in but it’s not sustainable. This type of training empowers people to understand the rudiments of sustainability in biotech products and innovation so that they are able to keep it going. We are going to train people on how to micro-propagate, how to store the mother culture so that they can always use it and it will become sustainable industry,â€ she said.
The DG of NABDA, Prof. Alex Akpa, in his remarks said the biotech certification was a welcome idea and development because a lot of people didn’t know what biotechnology is and its importance.
In his words, “People do not know that through biotechnology we can convert enzymes to gas which will be useful to our people. We have institutions that we are discussing with and the people are very serious, we are going to start producing industrial bio-gas and bio-crops. Bio-crops is what we are discussing for massive production so that farmers can come here to buy. We need all this product to improve our livestock production and local production of vaccines”.